Weekends are busy, but if you can steal away 30 minutes at 1pm, to toss a whole chicken or two in the oven, you will have an excellent meal at 6 o’clock when everyone is hungry for supper.
First, turn the oven onto 400 degrees to pre-heat then run to the freezer and grab a chicken or two. I usually do one and a half for four people because then I have an easy meal later in the week and enough leftover chicken for sandwiches, and the oven is on anyway, so why not!
Don’t thaw the chicken, just take it out of the package and place it in roasting pan breasts down, it stays moister with the breasts in the water. I put a little butter on the breasts so it doesn’t stick to the pan.
Most chickens are 4 to 6 pounds, but just remember the rule of 20 minutes of cooking time per pound of chicken, plus one hour because you are not thawing the bird. So a 6-pound frozen chicken will take 3 hours to cook in a hot oven plus an hour to prepare (de-bone and make gravy)
So the frozen chicken or two is in the roasting pan, add;1 – Inch of water Small onion – cut into large chunks 1 cup organic chicken Stock* 5 or 6 baby carrots 5 or 6 celery sticks** 1 tbsp. minced garlic 1 parsnip if you have it or a handful or frozen turnip chunks, if not, no biggy! 1 tsp. sage ½ tsp. thyme ½ tsp. rosemary Salt & Pepper
I like those spices, for a nice mild roast chicken, but kick it up with cumin and tarragon if you like. I do, and other times, add in some tomato paste, basil and oregano for a more Italian flavor.
* – I always have leftover chicken gravy or stock in the freezer. At the end of every roast chicken meal, I put it in 8 oz. plastic cups, freeze it, pop it out and store in large ziplock bags. It always comes in handy and you are not adding extra “stuff” to your food that you didn’t grow or know where it comes from.
** – I always have clean and cut celery sticks, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli in a bowl in the fridge. If it is clean, cut and ready to dip, the veggies get eaten, if not, you never know they are in your fridge.
Put the lid on, I will use a smaller pan and aluminum foil if I need more space in the oven to cook pies or dessert later, but both work. After the first hour, turn the oven down to 350 degrees. I check the chicken once over the three hours of cooking time, just to make sure it is not getting too crispy on the top. I always cook my chicken until it is tender and falls off the bone. It is how we like it best.
Once it is done, check with a thermometer, never serve or eat undercooked chicken!
To de-bone the bird, I set the roasting pan on the stove top, get out two big plates, one for meat and one for bones and gunk. As I pull each piece out of the pan, I put it on the right plate, meat for meat and bones and gunk to the bone and gunk plate. Once the pan is empty, except for some small pieces and the veggies and herbs you added to roast it, scrape any pieces off the side or bottom. Drain the drippings into a bowl.
I thicken my gravy with a rue. Put the roasting pan on medium heat on the stove top, melt 1 tbsp. or two of butter, add 1 or 2 tbsp. of flour, depends on the amount of liquid you have. I use an all-purpose wheat-free or rice flour, and it does the trick.
Once the rue changes from a white paste to a warm beige paste, empty the drippings bowl back into the roasting pan. I also add the water from the potatoes (because you need to have mashed potatoes so you can pour gravy all over them), and cooked veggies, usually from my garden and super yummy! So, now you have NOT lost any nutrients from your veggie water; you don’t just send it down the drain!
So NOW you have some healthy liquid to make into gravy. Add in the fact that you are eating a pastured chicken, that ate all kinds of grasses; that makes the fat and drippings in the pan almost medicinal! Mmmmm gravy.
Serve hot and you enjoy an easy roast chicken dinner! Keep the bones for soup, I usually pop them right into the crock pot before supper, or we wrap them in newspaper to throw them out. The newspaper stops them from smelling in the garbage when it’s hot out side or attracting predators to your garbage bag when you set it out for collection.
Take Care and care about what’s on your fork, we do!